Carol B. Wilson
Collection Development, E-Resources, and Meeting the Needs of People with Disabilities
- When a librarian is in the process of purchasing electronic resources, there are a number of concerns and points that need to be addressed. However it is rare that librarians are aware of or thinking about accessibility for the disabled community. The requirements are outlined in Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and WCAG 2.0, both present standards for accessibility in the digital space. This paper discusses the basics of how to check vendor’s electronic resources for accessibility.
Points to consider:
- This subject is of the utmost importance for K-12th school libraries and Academic Libraries to comply with accessibility under American With Disability Act (ADA) for their students.
- Public Libraries are rarely aware nor do they know what to check for when looking at different vendors. Often vendors do not provide adequate information about how their databases are compatible with adaptive technology.
- This journal article had the perspective for both the vendor and the selector about the process of meeting accessibility standards.
- From the perspective of the Selector, the degree of accessibility is not clear even after the vendor filled out product accessibility testing. Does the library have other options for their patrons to gain the same level of access?
- From the perspective of the vendor, the driving force of how to make their services accessible is getting feedback from the customer. Rarely do they get any feedback on adaptive software interactions or if efforts are successful. This makes it difficult to know which areas their databases need to be work on.
Most important take away:
- Selector librarians should read Section 508 of ADA as well as WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines. This will provide a framework of questions that one may ask potential vendors while vetting different services.
- Having a voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT), that can be provided to potential vendors can help increase disability accessibility but also encourages vendors to change their products to be more accessible in the future.
- Librarians should add accessibility commitment to their collection development policy. Accessibility for disabilities help further ease of access for elderly patrons as well as English as second language patrons.
Schmetzke, A., Pruitt, C., & Bruno, M. (2014). Collection Development, E‐Resources, and Meeting the Needs of People With Disabilities. Retrieved from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/charleston/2014/Collection/6/.